Lately in several classes I’ve heard different teachers refer to child’s pose – Balasana – as Warrior IV, and I love that image. The traditional warrior poses, poses I-III, are powerful and active poses. While in them, I find myself channeling a warrior in my awareness of activating the muscles in my legs, arms and core while in those poses. Thinking through each area of the body is one way that I try to bring mindfulness into my practice. And then when invited to lower the knees and sink hips to heels, I can relax back into my child’s pose.
Maybe not necessarily relax, as child’s pose isn’t just a resting place. There are benefits to the pose, in addition to taking a moment and catching the breath. It can stretch the hips and thighs, and there a different arm positions that can feel different along the sides of the core and your shoulders depending upon what you might need that day. And then one other thing that I’ve started doing more and more is rolling my forehead side to side, but that is if the pose is comfortable with your forehead meeting the mat. Because yes, it can be a pose to take comfort in.
But why do I like the analogy of Warrior IV?
There is strength in learning to take rest. In restoring. It can start with taking a beat to rest and come back to the breath in a vinyasa class. This beat can enable one to keep going for the next sequence, and maybe the next after that. That can be different each time and the strength will develop over time. And each day is going to vary from the last.
Just as taking a rest can help you channel energy to continue through an active flow and better serve you in class, taking rest can help you with strength in energy to better serve you, friends and loved ones and others.
Taking child’s pose when I need to has taught me to listen more to myself and honor what I need for the day, not what I think I should need or should do. When I began to take class, I wanted to do all the poses. I might only take a child’s pose if it was offered, powering through another chaturanga or feeling frustrated because I wasn’t able to practice a new-to-me post the very first time it was offered. But I feel better able to take on the challenge more when I have the energy to meet it. I even enjoy it.
Off my mat, it’s the same thing. Of course there are obligations and I have responsibilities that must be met, but when I feel like I need an evening in, then I take it. I recharge, I fill back up my well so that I can meet those responsibilities and show up more for the people who may be counting on me.
When I think of warriors, I think of protectors, of defenders. I am protecting myself to better serve myself and others. And that to me is why I smile each time a teacher may refer to child’s pose as Warrior IV.
This is the part of a series of posts for The Mat yoga studio, sharing my thoughts and observations as a student only. The views and opinions are my own.